Early success using the Grain Business Hub model in Narok
Initial work with the Grain Business Hub (GBH) model has resulted in a positive initial sale of grains from smallholder farmers to local schools. In November 2013, the Kenya team helped to launch the Narok Farmers Association GBH. Through this GBH, smallholder farmers in the area were able to sell 16.4 tonnes of maize and 4.5 tonnes of beans, worth US $11,811, to Narok Teachers College and four other local schools.
The PG-HGSF Kenya team has been developing and expanding the Grain Business Hub (GBH) model, an initiative that further strengthens the linkages and capacities small farmers have to school feeding. The approach seems to be working well as the Kenya team has just reported that Narok Farmers Association GBH has also made second sale to the Narok Teachers College of 7.65 tonnes of maize, worth US $3,500.
The Grain Business Hub model functions as a collective of supportive businesses and services that help the production activities of member farmers. It does this through managing the collection, distribution, and marketing of food products, mainly grains, from farmers and, also, other non-members. This enables farmers to sell grains more efficiently and profitably and ensures that they can access any needed goods and services to help them in selling their products. For example, farmers and producers in Narok can sell their grains to the Narok Farmers Association GBH, which buys them in bulk, distributes, and sells them to schools and to other structured markets.
One of the benefits of using a Grain Business Hub model is that it enables a farmer to store grains to a standard required by most structured markets. Currently, the team in Kenya is working on a Warehouse Receipt System. When this system is fully in place, it will allow the farmer to sell his or her crops to the Grain Hub during the harvest season and, in turn, the Grain Hub will be able to store the grains so that it can distribute them as needed to the schools throughout the year. Another benefit to the GBH model is that it can help small farmers collaborate and register as a formal business entity, which allows them to compete and bid for tenders.